An estimated 1650 people visited FBL during “Walk To The Library week.”(W2LW)
The library was packed full of children busy playing games, learning and having fun. It felt like the whole of Friern Barnet’s community had turned up in support of the walk to the library week.
Local residents came together to plan and run W2LW alongside students from Woodhouse College and Holly Park School. From toddlers to secondary school students, children of all ages took part enthusiastically in craft activities, word games and competitions. Every child that visited the library decorated a picture of walking feet - we wanted to send the message out, loud and clear, that we WALK to our local library!
Over 50 children signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge, Circus stars, at FBL on the first day - because of our party. And this was at FBL, defined by Cllr Robert Rams as having reportedly a low take up of children’s activities.
It demonstrated an enthusiasm amongst the hundreds of school children, parents and local schools, a comprehensive infrastructure, in supporting what many regard as part of the very fabric of our community.
Although the numbers swelled during this week, local children regularly visit the library, popping in after school and meeting up with their friends, so it forms part of their regular routine and a positive stop gap between school and home.
Our library supports local schools and makes a positive impact on a child’s education and development. It stamps a clear message of hope about how a local library can support our next generation, our community and society.
And when you think of the children that do not have the financial muscle to buy the latest game or book, a library provides a vital link for hundreds of families; struggling to make ends meet. How can the priority of a single parent decide on the next book or the next meal?
An intrinsic value of any good society is to provide an opportunity for all. Our library helps support our community. If it is a question of a few votes to keep it open, then surely, it must be worth millions for the people of Friern Barnet, to keep it open?
It might pay dividends to our politicians to hear the cry of pain and frustration from a different world, occupied by thousands of their constituents that they so eagerly claim to represent.
What we found with our activities, during the walk to the library week, was that it enhanced the learning experience of all the children, as they made new friends in a safe and controlled environment. And in turn, helped support many parents with young children and childcare provision.
Closing our library would deny many generations of a chance in life. The cuts proposed by the council would not generate revenue, they would deprive a much needed safe haven, an escape to explore and enjoy the benefits of learning in a public institution, our library.
W2LW showed how a community could build a future. We feel it gave generations a sense of hope and purpose and above all else, a sense of fun.